An ambitious climate and energy plan for the 2020-2030 period, which aims to save €500m, was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.
“A decisive step has been taken for Cyprus to move towards green and more environmentally friendly policies,” Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said.
“The plan, we expect, will get Cyprus much closer to meeting EU goals for reducing emissions and as a result Cyprus will not have to pay a fine,” he said.
As it stands, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) will pay a projected €85m next year for carbon dioxide emissions allowances, a cost that will be transferred to consumers.
The penalty will be more than double that paid last year by the EAC. This is due not to increasing CO2 emissions by Cyprus, but rather to the soaring price of emissions allowances over the past year.
Kadis said that the plan will also take Cyprus a long way towards meeting its targets for energy saving and renewable energy sources.
In Cyprus, currently about nine per cent of all electricity consumption comes from renewables.
Replying to a question on the measures to decrease emissions in the transport sector, he said the new measures will cost about €1.3bn and will be mainly in the direction of incentives and new infrastructure.
The agriculture minister said that other gains will also be made in the transport sector by implementing sustainable mobility schemes and greater use of electric cars.
“We therefore consider that by approving the plan Cyprus is making a decisive step towards the transition to climate neutrality,” he noted.
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon impact, means balancing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon removal. It is an incredibly ambitious target which only a few countries have discussed yet alone seriously aiming for.
Britain was the first major nation to propose this target and many people say the task is impossible.